Difference Between Endosteal & Subperiosteal Implants - Savina dental clinics malta and gozo

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, adults between the ages of 20 to 64 have lost an average of 7 of their natural teeth. People who have lost teeth are often too self-conscious to talk and smile confidently. They may also develop bad eating habits especially when the food is hard to chew, which can lead to other health issues.

Luckily, for many of these adults, dental implant treatment can provide a permanent and efficient way to fix missing teeth, restore functionality all while preserving your natural-looking smile. Dental implants help to hold a replacement tooth into place.

Why dental implants are preferred over traditional dentures

Dental implants provide a long-term, less-fuss alternative to traditional dentures. They allow room for a full replacement of lost teeth that look and function like the originals.

They act as artificial dental roots that support the full functionality of the false teeth and help prevent or stop jawbone loss. They also allow increased restoration of normal mouth function while avoiding the common pitfalls of traditional dentures.

Dental implants provide patients with the strength and stability needed to eat all types of food without struggling to chew. Additionally, they help stimulate and maintain healthy jawbone growth, prevent bone loss and help to support facial features.

If you have any dental implant-related issues or questions, you can book an appointment online or contact us directly at (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.

The two main kinds of dental implants

All dental implants work to restore lost teeth. However, how they do it may vary from one type to the other. Here are two of the most commonly used dental implant types:

Endosteal implants

An endosteal is a type of dental implant that is installed directly into your jawbone to act as an artificial root. These implants are shaped like small screws and are typically made of titanium. They are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone during the first phase of the procedure.

During the treatment, your dentist uses local anaesthesia to numb the area before placing the implant. The implant is then left alone for three to six months to allow osseointegration and the titanium to fuse to your bone. This ensures a solid foundation for the installation of the prosthetic tooth. The implant protrudes through the gum to hold the replacement tooth.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, endosteal implants are the most widely used type of implants. This is major because these implants protect a patient’s jawbone from deteriorating over time.

Endosteal implants require the patient to have a substantial amount of bone density that can allow and maintain a dental implant. If your bone density is not sufficient, you may need a bone graft to restore and strengthen your jaw before your dentist can install the implant.

Subperiosteal implants

If your jaw is not healthy enough or if you have lost too much bone after losing your teeth, then you may be a suitable candidate for a subperiosteal implant. Subperiosteal implants are an alternative to endosteal implants for patients with a weak jawbone or those with a bone height less than the minimum that can support  endosteal implants

This implant is placed below the gum tissues and above the jawbone and is held in place with bone screws at strategic points for best support. The metal posts attached to the frame protrude through the gums, which is where the prosthetic tooth or teeth are mounted. While the gum heals, provisional fixed teeth can be mounted immediately on this type of implant. The permanent bridge is only fitted once complete gum healing has taken place

Thorough preparation including the use of Cone Beam CT scanning and digital elaboration of the proposed implant is carried out before the custom-made subperiosteal implant is fabricated and is ready for placement.

Dentists recommend this solution for patients who don’t have a healthy jawbone to support endosteal implants and cannot or don’t want to complete a bone graft to rebuild their jawbone.

What are the differences?

When looking to get dental implants installed, it is crucial to clarify the differences between the two so you have all the information you need about the implants. As stated above, the main difference between an endosteal implant and a subperiosteal implant is its position inside or over the jawbone.

Endosteal implants are placed in the jawbone, whereas subperiosteal implants go above the jaw bone, similar to a saddle. Since subperiosteal implants don’t sit in the jawbone, their structure varies significantly from that of endosteal implants.

Instead of using an implant stabilization screw, subperiosteal implants implement a metal frame that snuggly fit over the jawbone beneath the gum. Finally, the placement of subperiosteal implants may require quite an extensive procedure.

When are subperiosteal implants ideal?

You are a viable candidate for subperiosteal implants if you are looking for fixed replacement teeth but lack sufficient gum bone to accommodate the endosteal implant/s. It is also ideal for patients whose jawbone cannot provide the structural support for an endosteal implant and those whose jawbone has deteriorated due to diseases like gum disease or osteoporosis.

When are endosteal implants ideal?

You are an ideal candidate for endosteal implants if you meet the following criteria:

  • Good oral health
  • Good general health
  • You have healthy gum with no periodontal disease
  • You have enough healthy bone in your jaw
  • Your jawbone is fully grown
  • You don’t want to wear dentures
  • You are not a heavy smoker

Most importantly, you must be ready to commit to several weeks or even months to complete the entire procedure. Most of this time will be used for healing and waiting for new bone growth in your jaw.

Which is the best?

When choosing the best type of dental implant for your needs, we highly recommend that you visit a dental implant specialist to help you determine what type is right for you. But generally, if your jaw bone is healthy, an endosteal implant is a good choice for you.

If, however, you have suffered severe bone loss from a facial injury, periodontal disease or any other reason, subperiosteal implants are a great alternative. That said, subperiosteal implants might still not be suitable for some individuals.

Whichever implant solution you are suitable for and whichever type is recommended for you, you must be committed to a lifetime of care and maintenance if you wish to enjoy the benefits of dental implants

Finding your perfect smile should not be difficult. There are several different types of dental implants out there for you to choose from. Take some time to talk with your dentist so they can help you find the perfect match for you.

Have you tried our free e-Consultation service?

If you are looking for Dental Implant treatment in Malta or Gozo, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday. Savina Dental Clinic’s Maltese practice is located in Skyparks Business Centre which is 5 minutes walk from the Malta International Airport terminal making it a perfect location for patients travelling from abroad for dental treatment.

If you would like to schedule an in-person dental implant consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form or call us now  (+356) 2125 7253 (Malta) / (+356) 2155 7323 (Gozo).

Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.